FreeState is proud to honor our Community Icon of the week, the Baltimore Student Harm Reduction Coalition (BSHRC)! Established in January 2011 by local students interested in promoting harm reduction. Harm reduction, for BSHRC, encompasses a set of practical strategies for reducing the consequences of behaviors that may negatively impact personal and community health. BSHRC is one of the only multi-institutional student-focused organizations in the country with an explicit emphasis on harm reduction, believing that engaging students now helps them become knowledgeable, compassionate service providers later. The Coalition’s core activities center on mobilizing students and beginning professionals in the health, policy, and social service fields for educational development, advocacy, and community engagement. BSHRC’s largest project to date involves training both health professionals and potential bystanders to prevent and respond to opioid overdose. They have also brought many locally and nationally renowned speakers to area universities to discuss topics such as prison health, sex work, syringe access, and research from a harm reduction perspective. BSHRCers advocate for policies at the State and local level that support people who use drugs and the communities that care about them. The biennial National Harm Reduction Conference was justed hosted here in Baltimore for the first time this past October! While still primarily a volunteer-run group, the organization currently employs a full-time Director, Jennifer Kirschner, and is a program of 501(c)3 Fusion Partnerships. For more information on BSHRC or to get involved, visit baltimoreharmreduction.org.
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